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Motorola And RIM Settle Patent Lawsuits

Research In Motion and Motorola have agreed to settle all pending litigation between the two companies worldwide, and have reached a cross-licensing agreement for their mobile patents.
Today Motorola and Research In Motion issued a joint press release that announced the end of the litigation between the two companies. They had each sued one another over various mobile technology patents. In addition to ending the lawsuits, the two firms have announced a new cross-licensing agreement. According to Motorola, the licensed patents relate to certain industry standards and certain technologies, such as 2G, 3G, 4G, 802.11 and wireless email. The companies also said that they will transfer some patents to each other, though they didn't specify which patents.

The companies didn't disclose the financial terms behind the arrangement. They did state, however, that RIM will make an up-front payment to Motorola, as well as pay ongoing royalties. That suggests that it was Motorola, and not RIM, that had the upper hand in the settlement.

Patent litigation has become the latest battleground for makers of mobile phones -- especially the more lucrative smartphones. Apple, HTC, Nokia, Motorola, and RIM are all involved in patent-related disputes with one or more competitors. The messiest at the moment involve Apple, HTC and Nokia. Apple and Nokia have each sued one another, seeking to ban the import of their competitors' products. Apple and HTC have also sued one another, asking for similar bans. The U.S. International Trade Commission has agreed to look into some of these disputes, but none of them has been settled. It will likely be some time before the dust clears.

In the mean time, all the players involved continue to innovate and move forward with new smartphones and improvements to their core software capabilities. Earlier this week, Apple announced iPhone 4, which makes major improvements in hardware, design, and software. Motorola has promised to bring video calling-capable devices to market. And RIM is preparing to unveil OS 6 and new devices later this summer.